July 25, 2019
July 31, 1919—July 21, 2019

Robert Morgenthau, who for more than 40 years served as the chief federal prosecutor for Southern New York State and as Manhattan’s longest-serving district attorney, died last Sunday, July 21, at age 99 just days shy of his 100 th birthday.

Mr. Morgenthau’s grandfather, Henry Morgenthau, Sr. was the ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I and a prominent voice about the Armenian genocide. His father, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., served as treasury secretary during the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Robert Morgenthau followed his grandfather and father as a life-long advocate for the recognition of the Armenian genocide and was a familiar figure in joining the Armenian community in commemorative and advocacy events.

Mr. Morgenthau’s funeral took place today, Thursday, July 25, in New York. Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Vicar of the Prelacy, represented the Prelate His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan at the funeral service.

Eternal peace grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

NYPD honor guards surround the casket of Robert Morgenthau during funeral services at Temple Emanu-El in New York City.

His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy, flanked by the 2019 Datev Institute instructors and staff
The Eastern Prelacy’s St. Gregory of Datev Institute held its 33rd annual Summer Christian Educational Program for youth ages 13-18 at St. Mary of Providence Center in Elverson, Pennsylvania, from June 30–July 7, 2019, under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Forty students participated from twelve parishes along with 16 clergy and lay instructors and counselors.

Sponsored and organized by the Prelacy’s Armenian Religious Education Council (AREC), the Program was directed by Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, vicar general of the Prelacy, and pastor of Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church of Ridgefield, New Jersey. The Institute offers a unique Christian educational program for our youth in a wholesome and nurturing environment, with three-pronged objectives: Christian education, prayer/worship, and fellowship and recreational activities.

“Datev has the perfect balance of classes, prayer, free time and other activities. I am so glad I decided to attend Datev this year and I hope to be back next year,” Arpi Donoyan, a first time participant, commenting on the three components of the Datev Program. “Datev is the perfect balance of religion and a traditional camp. It is a unique experience that I would recommend to anyone,” Levon Tekeyan remarked, a fifth year participant.

The daily life of the students at Datev was framed by morning and evening prayers. Every morning the students filed out for chapel to pray and sing praises to God according to the tradition of the Armenian church, and in the evenings, they reassembled at the chapel for the compline ( Husgoom ) service. Interestingly, the older “datevatsees" requested that we reinstate singing of Der Voghormia during the Husgoom Service (abridged at Datev to about 25 minutes).

Students attended three classes in the morning, from 9:30am-12:30pm, and two more in the evening from 7:00pm-9:00pm. The curriculum of the Program is designed to be completed in four years, one week each summer. Those who graduate have the option to return for post-graduate classes. All five levels of classes take place concurrently. Each year, students participate in about 20 hours of educational sessions. The curriculum includes the Bible, the sacraments with more emphasis on Soorp Badarak (Divine Liturgy), Armenian Church feasts and saints, Armenian Church history and creeds, prayer and worship, as well as discussions on contemporary moral and ethical issue.

The intensive daily schedule of the Summer Program was tempered by afternoon sports and recreational activities, such as volleyball, soccer, and swimming. There was an excursion to French Creek Pool and the convivial 4th of July picnic.

The weeklong program culminated on Sunday, July 7, with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy ( Soorp Badarak ) at St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, presided over by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan. The celebrant and the homilist was Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, visiting pastor of Holy Cross Armenian Church in Troy, New York. Following the Soorp Badarak , the Philadelphia Artemis Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) hosted a luncheon, at the conclusion of which diplomas were distributed to the graduates.
This year, three students graduated from the Datev Program, having completed four weeklong sessions. The graduates were: Peter Agopian from St. Sarkis Armenian Church (Douglaston, New York), Lianna Isakhanian from Sts. Vartanantz Armenian Church (Ridgefield, New Jersey), and Garo Minassian from Holy Cross Armenian Church (Troy, New York).

The instructors and staff of the Program were: H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan, Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian, Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian, Archpriest Fr. Gomidas Baghsarian, Rev. Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian, Rev. Fr. Stephan Baljian, Rev. Fr. Dr. Vahan Kouyoumdjian, Archdeacon George A. Leylegian, Archdeacon Shant Kazanjian, Dn. Harout Takvorian (counselor), Dn. Bedros Kalajian (counselor), Yn. Alice Baljian, R.N., Yn. Maggie Kouyoumdjian (instructor and counselor), Ms. Tamar Lakissian (counselor), Dr. Alta E. Mekaelian (counselor), and Dr. Ari Nalbandian (instructor and counselor).

To read the entire article click here.

Very Rev. Fr. Sahag Yemishian delivered the opening remarks at the 99 th Convention of the Armenian Relief Society Eastern USA. This year's convention was hosted in Massachusetts by the Cambridge "Shushi" and Watertown "Leola Sassouni" Chapters.

Bible readings for Sunday, July 28, Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, ( Aylakerputiun / Vartavar ) are: Wisdom 7:25-8:4; Zechariah 14:16-21; 1 John 1:1-7; Matthew 16:13-17:13.

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:1-7)


Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” And the disciples asked him, “Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” He replied, “Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but they did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man is about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them about John the Baptist. (Matthew 17:1-13)

For a listing of the coming week’s Bible readings click here.

On Saturday (July 27) the Armenian Church commemorates the Old Ark of the Covenant and the Feast of the New Holy Church. This combined commemoration takes place on the Saturday prior to the Feast of the Transfiguration. Celebrating the old and new shows the perpetuity of the Church. God revealed Himself to humankind gradually through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and the prophets. The church existed from the beginning, and that is why the Old Testament is accepted as part of the Holy Scriptures and recognized as a preamble to the New Testament. The hymn designated for this day proclaims, “Who from the beginning established your church with wisdom, O, Father of Wisdom, who revealed to Moses upon Sinai.”

This Sunday (July 28) the Armenian Church observes one of its five major feasts, the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ ( Aylakerputiunm / Vartavar ). This Feast is observed fourteen weeks after Easter, and therefore can fall between June 28 and August 1. It commemorates an episode in the New Testament recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Peter, recalling Christ’s ascent up Mount Tabor with disciples John, James, and Peter.

The Transfiguration took place on the “holy mountain” (believed to be Mt. Tabor) where Jesus went with his three disciples. As He was praying, “His face shone like the sun and his garments became white as light.” The Patriarch Moses and Prophet Elijah appeared at his side. It was at this moment that his appearance was “transfigured” revealing himself as God to his disciples as a voice from above said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” Jesus urged his disciples to keep silent about what they saw, but the incident was recorded in the Gospels.

The pre-Christian festival Vartavar (Festival of Roses) was joined with this new Christian holiday. Armenians would decorate the temple of the goddess Asdghig (goddess of love, beauty, fertility, and water) with roses, release doves, and engage in water games on this popular pre-Christian holiday. St. Gregory the Illuminator combined Vartavar with the Transfiguration. The fifth century historian Yeshighe wrote the prayer that is recited in church on this feast: “O Lord, bless the harvest of this year and defend from all the perils, and may your right hand, O Lord, protect us for the whole year.”

Vartavar became a traditional day of pilgrimage to churches named in honor of St. John the Baptist. The most popular destination was the Monastery of Sourp Garabed of Moush, founded by Gregory the Illuminator in the province of Taron near Moush. (Garabed means Forerunner, referring to John the Baptist). The monastery was large and expansive and built like a fortress in the mountains. More than one thousand pilgrims could be accommodated. After 1915 the complex ceased to exist. The monastery was destroyed by the Turkish army, and the ravages of time, weather and scavengers completed its destruction. The once large and thriving Armenian monastery is now a mass of stone and rubble.

This Sunday is the name day for those named Vartkes, Vartavar, Vart, Vartouni, Alvart, Sirvart, Nevart, Lousvart, Hyvart, Baidzar, Vartanoush, Vartiter, Varvar.

The Monday after each of the five major feasts of the Armenian Church is a Memorial Day—a day of remembrance.
Death of Hamo Ohanjanian (July 31, 1947)

Hamo Ohanjanian was a remarkable name in the history of the Armenian revolutionary movement, as well as the short-lived first independent Republic of Armenia, of which he was its third Prime Minister for six months.

His actual first name was Hamazasp. He was born in Akhalkalak on February 1, 1873, the date more generally accepted. He studied at the local school, and then graduated from the Russian school of Tiflis.

He entered the University of Moscow, where he studied medicine. However, due to his involvement with revolutionaries and his participation in student agitations, he was forbidden from continuing his studies and staying in Moscow, and he was forced to return to Tiflis. Her girlfriend from the student years, Olga Vavilevna, a Russian revolutionary, joined him. They married in 1897 and would have three children: two boys, Monik and Arik, and a daughter, Galia. Around this time, he entered the ranks of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

In 1899 Ohanjanian traveled to Switzerland and specialized in medicine at the University of Lausanne until 1902. Simultaneously, he continued his revolutionary activities, which did not end after his return to Tiflis. He became one of the leaders of the popular movement against the June 12, 1903 law of the imperial government that established the confiscation of the properties of the Armenian Church and one of the driving forces behind the “Caucasian Project” that was part of the turnaround of the A.R.F. to expand its activities into the Caucasus.

He participated in the third (Sofia, 1904) and fourth general assemblies (Vienna, 1907) of the ARF, and became a member of the Eastern Bureau of the organization. He played an important role in the maintenance of the internal discipline and ironclad structure of the organization, and also remained active during the wave of democratization that followed the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Armeno-Tatar conflict spurred by the Czarist regime of Russia.

Ohanjanian was arrested by the imperial government in 1908 along with 200 party members and sympathizers as part of a strong attempt to weaken the A.R.F. He was jailed in the infamous prison of Metekh, in Tiflis, where he was often subjected to torture to confess the “sins” of the party. His powerful defense during the “A.R.F. trial” of 1912 did not avoid him a sentence of four years of forced labor, but raised his profile and prestige among both Armenians and Russians.

He was first sent to Kharkov, in Ukraine, and then to Siberia, and Rubina Areshian, the close collaborator of the late Kristapor Mikayelian, one of the ARF founders, went after him to follow his steps and make continuous efforts for his liberation. They would marry during those years.

After the beginning of World War I, the Russian government made a crucial turnaround and approached the ARF in order to launch the Armenian volunteer movement. Among many others, Hamo Ohanjanian was liberated and returned from Siberia directly to Tiflis. As a doctor, he was at the Russian-Turkish battlefront helping the Armenian soldiers, and in Van became the right hand of Aram Manoukian, who was the governor during the brief period of liberation following the self-defense of April-May 1915 against the Ottoman troops.

Ohanjanian participated actively in the battle of Gharakilise (May 1918), where his son Monik gave his life for the defense of the homeland. After the independence, he devoted himself to consolidate the grounds of the newly created republic. He had an active role in international relations as a member of the delegation of the Republic in Europe. He was elected member of the A.R.F. Bureau in 1919, after the ninth general assembly of the party held in Yerevan, and became Minister of Foreign Affairs in January 1920.

In May 1920, after the failure of the Bolshevik rebellion, the cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander Khatisian resigned, and the political acute crisis forced the A.R.F. Bureau to become government. From May –November 1920, in the period of the “Bureau-government,” Hamo Ohanjanian was both Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. His son Viken (1920-2009) was born in this period.

After the Sovietization of Armenia in December 1920, Ohanjanian was arrested by the Soviet regime and imprisoned in Yerevan. The popular rebellion of February 1921 saved him and hundreds of prisoners from certain death, and after its end in early April, Ohanjanian went to Tabriz (Persia) via Zangezur. In 1923 he moved from Persia to Cairo, where he would live the rest of his life.

He was one of the founding members of the Hamazkayin Armenian Cultural and Educational Society in 1928 and president of the Society until his death. He had an important contribution to the foundation of the Armenian Lyceum (the Jemaran) in Beirut and its consolidation during its first decades. He was also re-elected member of the A.R.F. Bureau.

Hamo Ohanjanian passed away in Cairo on July 31, 1947. He was buried in the Egyptian capital. His tombstone was engraved with the following legend: “He lived in the way that he preached.”
Previous entries in “This Week in Armenian History” are on the Prelacy’s web site ( www.armenianprelacy.org ). 
Participants in Providence’s Sts. Vartanantz Church Summer Bible Camp continued a wonderful week of exploring this year’s theme, “To Mars and Beyond (Explore Where God’s Power Can Take You!” with a fun-filled and educational trip to the Roger Williams Park Planetarium and Museum of Natural History. Following the museum, the group enjoyed a wonderful lunch and fun at the Roger Williams Park Carousel. The week concluded with a special cookout lunch provided by the Men’s Club and served by the Ladies’ Guild, followed by “Make Your Own Sundaes” for dessert. In the afternoon, the campers joyfully presented a Hantes based on the week’s theme under the enthusiastic and professional direction of Raffi Rachdouni. All the counselors, campers, and parents, along with Der Kapriel Nazarian, expressed their happiness with the week’s activities, along with sadness at its conclusion. As always, everyone is already asking when next year’s Summer Bible Camp will be held!
The Prelacy’s Orphan Sponsorship program was established in 1993 and continues to be the central mission of the Prelacy’s programs in Armenia and Artsakh. As part of the program, letters are received regularly from sponsored children addressed to their sponsors. We are pleased to share some of these letters through Crossroads . This week’s letter is from 10-year-old Ani to her sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bedrosian from Pomona, New York. In order to protect the privacy of the children we use only their first names.
Dear Sponsor,

I am very happy to have the opportunity to write to you. My name is Ani . . .. I am 10 years old. I live in the Syunik region of Armenia, in the city of Kadjaran. I am in 5 th grade in school and I am on the honor roll. I participate in the after-school program’s art and dance classes and I sing in the school choir.

I have many girlfriends and I love them very much. Soon, our choir is going to have a concert dedicated to Mother’s Day. I have lots of dreams. My mom always says that wishes and dreams come true. I want to continue being an excellent student to be able to become a pediatrician and treat and help all the children who are sick.

I love to read books, wear pretty dresses, play on the computer, and help my mom in her house chores. I promised to myself to do everything in my power so that my mom is always happy and very proud of me. When I grow up, I will try to repay tenfold for all her sacrifices, to make her life easy, and I will do this with love.

Thank you very much for your support and kindness. Thank you to all the sponsors who make this program a success. My mom and I are happy that there are people who care about families like ours and children like me. I wish you a long, healthy and successful life. I wish that all the children of the world live a happy, carefree, and colorful childhood just like in the fairy tales that my mom tells me, where the good always wins and people live happily ever after.


Currently there are children on the waiting list for the Prelacy’s Sponsorship Program. If you would like to sponsor a child please contact the Prelacy by email ( sophie@armenianprelacy.org ) or telephone (212-689-7810), ask for Sophie.
On Old and Ancient Men and Things
When they translated Ernest Hemingway’s famous short novel, “The Old Man and the Sea,” into Armenian, the title turned into the literal phrase «Ծերունին եւ ծովը» ( Dzeroonin yev dzovuh ). You have it there: a dzerooni is an old or aged person. On the other hand, you can also translate “old man” word by word, but do not dream of translating it as ծերունի մարդ ( dzerooni mart ). The fact is that  dzerooni is a noun, while “old” is an adjective. Therefore, the corresponding adjective is ծեր ( dzer ) and the correct translation is dzer mart.

The word dzer is a native Indo-European word and comes from the root *g’er (“senility, to age”). It has many cognates in the sister languages, and the most interesting one is the Greek word geron, geront (“old, elder”) , from which we find a bridge into English words like “geriatric” or “gerontology.” Besides the cognates, however, we have a lot of Armenian compound words starting or ending with dzer, and an interesting one is the modern noun Ծերակոյտ ( Dzeragooyd ), composed of the words dzer and gooyd (“heap, pile, mound”). If you know some Latin, the literal translation “pile of elders” could lead you to one of the venerable institutions created by Roman law and recreated by modern republican democracy: the chamber of elders or Senatus (from senex “old”). Yes, that’s how the Senate is called in Armenian, while a senator is a ծերակուտական ( dzeragoodagan ).

The Latin word senex, however, comes from a different root than dzer : Proto-Indo-European *sénos (“old”). This root has also given origin to many words in the different Indo-European languages, and again, our interest is spurred by the Greek word énos (“old”), which looks quite close to its Armenian cognate հին ( hin “old, ancient”).   In the case of the latter, however, it appears that the Indo-European *s fell and the Armenian word was originally *in, but the influence of the Iranian forms with an initial h led to the actual form hin .

Now, hin and dzer have close meanings, and even if you can say that someone is a հին մարդ ( hin mart “old person”), this use of hin is not necessarily related to the physical age, but to the mental age. On the other hand, hin does not only mean “old,” but “ancient.” If you say հին դարեր ( hin tarer ) , you mean “ancient centuries” and not “old centuries.”

Despite their relation, there are subtle differences between the ancient and the old, as well as the hin and the dzer. Something can be old, but it does not mean that it is ancient. In times like these, when whatever happens today is old by the end of the day, we should bear this in mind.

We are happy to share the following message we recently received from one of our readers:

Thank you for your exemplary work on behalf of the Armenian diaspora, from “This Week in Armenian History” to the “Armenian Language Corner,” and beyond. It is always on mark, timely and well-presented.

These are very critical times for the Armenian nation and I commend you for your talent, professionalism and unwavering dedication to the preservation of our proud heritage as Armenians and Christians, along with your advancement of the Armenian Cause.

Carry on and no surrender! Astvadz arach yev minchev haghtanag!

Noris Balabanian
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Please send your inquiries and comments (English or Armenian) to  Crossroads@armenianprelacy.org .

( Calendar items may be edited to conform to space and style )
August 4 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Providence, Rhode Island, Annual Picnic, under auspices of Archbishop Anoushavan, at Camp Haiastan, Franklin, Massachusetts, 12 noon. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3:30 pm. All New England churches and communities are invited to attend. Rain or shine. For information: Church office (401) 831-6399.

August 4 —St. Paul Armenian Church, Waukegan, Illinois, annual Blessing of the Grapes and Shish Kebab Family Picnic, 12 noon to 4 pm. Rain or shine.

August 11 —St. Stephen’s Church, Watertown, Massachusetts, welcomes all to its annual picnic at Camp Haiastan. Under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Anoushavan. Blessing of the Grapes and Madagh at 3 pm. Rain or shine. For information: (617) 924-7562.

August 11 —Annual picnic of Holy Trinity Armenian Church of Worcester, Massachusetts. Blessing of Grapes at 1 pm with Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian presiding.

August 16, 17, 18 —All Saints Armenian Church, Glenview, Illinois, Armenian Fest 2019. Friday, 6 pm to 10 pm; Saturday, 5 pm to 11 pm; Sunday, 12 noon to 7 pm. Grape blessing ceremony at 4 pm on Sunday. Free admission and parking. Children’s area with Inflatables.

October 9-12 —On the occasion of the Feast of the Holy Translators a joint clergy conference of the Eastern, Western, and Canadian Prelacies will convene in Montebello, California.

October 12 —Sts. Vartanantz Church, Ridgefield, NJ continues celebration of 60 th anniversary with Elie Berberian and his band. Information: 201-943-2950.

October 19 —Armenian Friends of America Annual Hye Kef 5 Dance, featuring The Vosbikians, at Double Tree by Hilton, Andover, MA. For information: Sharke’ Der Apkarian at 978-808-0598; John Arzigian at 603-560-3826.

November 17 —SAVE THE DATE for Eastern Prelacy’s first annual Special Thanksgiving Banquet at Terrace on the Park. Details to follow.

May 13-16, 2020 —National Representative Assembly (NRA) of the Eastern Prelacy, hosted by St. Gregory the Illuminator Church of Philadelphia. The Clergy Conference will begin on Wednesday, May 13; the full Assembly will convene on Thursday, May 14 and conclude on Saturday, May 16.
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